The Peoples Republic, now usually known simply as China, has broken with a long-standing tradition of non-interference in international affairs, especially in affairs regarding civil rights. When nations such as the African nations of Zimbabwe, Myanmar, and Sudan have been investigated by the United Nations Security Council, for matters of civil rights violations against their populations, China has blocked any attempt to go beyond the “warning” stage. This refusal to sanction may in part be based on Chinese dogma, which is non-democratic. China herself was subject to global criticism in 1989 resulting from a bloody crackdown on Chinese citizens demonstrating for democracy and principles of freedom. An exception to the Peoples Republic non-interference policy has been in addressing the efforts of Iran and North Korea to achieve nuclear armaments.
In Security Council voting, China has sided with those nations seeking sanctions against Gadhafi and those in authority in Libya who have imposed deadly action against freedom demonstrators. China grows stronger and more influential with each passing year. The Chinese economy and industrial strengths continue to soar. China may have been influenced by the breakaway from Libya of the Libyan ambassador, who sides with the West, the freedom fighters, and those who now endorse sanctions.
A Chinese spokesman, Ma Zhaoxu, was quick to add that the basic policy of non-interference has not changed and will not change. He said that policy is in fact “one of the pillars of China’s foreign policy.”
Beijing is concerned about the safety of 30,000 Chinese workers and citizens who have been, until the past days, in Libya. Libya supplies crude oil to China, and has business interests there. At a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, the representative from China, Li Baodong, called for an end to violence, avoidance of bloodshed and casualties, and for the safety of foreign nationals. China favors suspending Libya from the council. But China holds that there may still be hope for discussion, and that any action for suspension of certain countries’ memberships does not constitute a precedent.
China has been removing her jeopardized citizens. On Friday, February 25, 12,000 workers were removed by a Chinese naval frigate. China has encouraged business in Libya, business which some nations consider difficult and unsustainable. Libyan pay is so low as to discourage outside participation. Prior to the removal, some Chinese workers reported being attacked by armed looters at a university construction site in Tobruk. Other Chinese workers rented cars in fleets and fled to Egypt.
In similar stories across the globe, a report from London says British military planes entered Libyan airspace to rescue oil workers; this in a “daring and secret mission.” British Secretary of Defense Liam Fox told of C-130 Hercules aircraft carrying Britons and others from the Libyan port city of Benghazi to Malta.